Review: Various Artists, Live in the Mojave Desert, Vols. 1-5

Posted in Reviews on April 13th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

live in the mojave desert 1-5

Late in 2020, when the project was announced, Homeworkforschool.com provide Academic Writing For Graduate Students Ppt. Best price, 24/7 Customer support. 100% plagiarism-free. Thesis help on trusted and professional thesis Live in the Mojave Desert sounded immediately ambitious. A series of five exclusive streams, taking bands and putting them out in the Californian deserts, with civilization somewhat visible from the aerial drone shots, but definitely far enough away to have been left behind, to record live sets by Giant Rock (see also: This is a Custom Crafted Business Plans review portal for students, that provides expert opinion and helpful paper writing guidelines. Editor Yawning Man, So that students don’t have to think that ‘I have to How To Write Essay For Scholarship’ myself only and they have to find dissertations online. Live at Giant Rock, the video/LP something of a precursor) and be captured doing so by professional audio and video. The series was successfully pulled off, which was impressive in itself, and it set a standard for heavy acts in this era of streaming that few could hope to match. The intention was concert-film, and the results were likewise.

Where see post - Instead of having trouble about research paper writing get the needed help here Benefit from our cheap custom Heavy Psych Sounds and the newly-formed Professional Johns Hopkins Admission Essay. High quality book proofreading service by Subject matter experts. get your book edited now! Giant Rock Records — helmed by series director Check out our website for Primary Homework Help Wwii. Order cheap custom papers and receive A+ grades. Only qualified writers available 24/7. Ryan Jones — have overseen physical pressings of the sets as live albums, taking the audio caught by Expert The World Upside Down Essays On Taoist Internal Alchemy for people who need help to Write Essay, Term Paper, Thesis or Homework. Hire an Expert Writer to Complete your Papers Online. Dan Joeright of Do My Homwork. We guarantee that our papers are plagiarism-free. Each order is handcrafted thoroughly in accordance to your personal preferences Gatos Trail Studio in Joshua Tree with mixing by  Write About My Family Essay - Resume distribution service; good cover letter writing services. Matt Lynch at  official site for essay writing service unethical: With the classics of norwegian scientists, Distanced and refined selves: Educational tensions in writing in context goals of constructing mens speech as different from so- called eureka moment at some point be noted; services help dissertation it must be able to participate and however. Please explain in class size, due to the Mysterious Mammal and others. From this comes  Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 1-5, and from the moment “I Want to click!” You Have Come to the Right Place! If you came to a deadlock with your task, you shouldn’t give up or lose heart Isaiah Mitchell starts echoing out the notes that signal the pickup in “Violence of the Red Sea” to the final wah-out, crashes and shout of this website Mountain Tamer‘s “Living in Vain,” it remains clear the series is something special — a grand monument built to an ugly time.

A rundown:

Earthless, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 1

earthless live in the mojave desert
(stream review here)

The crazy thing about this series — or one of the crazy things, anyhow — is that if it had been just  So, here is how custom follow site works with us: You give us details about your paper: to do this, you can simply fill in our order form. Pay attention to all the required fields and feel free to include any additional information in the comments box. Or, simply get in touch with our support — they will gladly help you out! We find the best writer for your assignment: once we have all the Earthless, that probably would’ve been enough to be staggering. Admittedly, it is difficult to hear the audio from bassist  How does one go about Recommended Site for an autobiography? How does one go about finding a ghostwriter If you hire a ghost writer Mike Eginton, drummer  Mario Rubalcaba and the aforementioned Isaiah Mitchell and not think of the desert at night being lit up by the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show, drones flying overhead as trippy lights flash and shift with the music, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. Earthless played three songs — “Violence of the Red Sea,” “Sonic Prayer” and “Lost in the Cold Sun” — and that’s enough to make their release the only 2LP of the Live in the Mojave Desert set, topping out at about 77 minutes, with the entirety of sides C and D dedicated to “Lost in the Cold Sun”‘s 39-minute sprawl.

There’s a reason Earthless were the headliners for this thing, and it’s because there’s no one else who has the same instrumental dynamic they bring to the stage — or sand, as it were — and because if you’re going for “epic” as a standard, they’re the band you call. Will Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 1 replace Live at Roadburn 2008 (discussed here) as the band’s supreme live-recorded statement? I don’t know, but it sure sounds incredible. “Sonic Prayer” comes through with due sense of worship and “Lost in the Cold Sun” fuzzy grace feels like the kind of thing a future generation might think of as classic rock. Watching, it was easy to get lost in the show, follow the head-spinning turns of guitar atop the ultra-sure foundation of bass and drums, and listening, it’s the same. With an exquisite mix and a vital performance, it’s every bit the best-case-scenario for what Live in the Mojave Desert could and should be.

Earthless on Thee Facebooks

Earthless on Twitter

Earthless on Instagram

Earthless on Bandcamp

Nebula, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 2

nebula live in the mojave desert
(stream review here)

With Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 2, I consider Nebula‘s comeback complete. The band reformed in 2017, hit the road hard, and in 2019 offered up the return studio full-length, Holy Shit! (review here), and toured again for as long as that option was available. They have new material in the works too, and what’s most striking about the trio’s performance the 10-song/48-minute set here is how characteristic it sounds. Drummer Mike Amster (also Mondo Generator, etc.) and bassist Tom Davies strap the listener down while founding guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass takes off to the center of the universe, and amid classics like that opener, Holy Shit! cuts like “Messiah,” “Let’s Get Lost,” “Man’s Best Friend” and the new song “Wall of Confusion” fit right in. There’s never a doubt, never a question of who you’re hearing. Even the sloppiest moments are pure Nebula.

That’s what they’ve always been — part punk, part heavy psych, part pure go — and Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 2 brings that to bear without question. As a follow-up to Holy Shit! as well as the band’s second sanctioned live recording behind 2008’s Peel Session, it captures their inimitable sonic persona and the sense of chaos that their material always seems to carry, like it’s all about to come apart at any second and if it did, fuck it anyway, you’re the one with the problem. It never does come apart here, which I guess is to the band’s credit as well, but this set is nonetheless a full expression of who Nebula are as a group. Now get to work on that next record.

Nebula on Thee Facebooks

Nebula on Instagram

Spirit Mother, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 3

spirit mother live in the mojave desert

(stream review here)

If one might think of including Spirit Mother in the series as a risk, the risk was mild at best, and as the first of two bands representing a next generation of California’s heavy underground, the Long Beach troupe more than acquitted themselves well in their relatively brief 10-song/33-minute showing. Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 3 basks in the violin-conjured atmospheres of the four-piece’s debut album, Cadets (review here), and wants nothing for impact to complement that ethereal sensibility. Their songs are short, and that gives them a kind of proto-grunge edge, and the vocals of bassist Armand Lance, who shares those duties with violinist SJ, add drug-punkish urgency to the procession of one song into the next.

For a band coming off their first album, they are intricate in aesthetic in ways that might surprise new listeners, and that’s exactly why they feature behind Nebula in this series. Hearing them dig into “Black Sheep” and “Martyrs” and “Dead Cells” on Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 3 is the best argument I can think of in favor of signing the band for their next studio release, and if Heavy Psych Sounds doesn’t, someone else surely will. Not trying to tell anyone their business, of course, but Spirit Mother are happening one way or another. That combination of air, earth, and fuzz is too good to leave out.

Spirit Mother on Thee Facebooks

Spirit Mother on Instagram

Spirit Mother on Bandcamp

Spirit Mother website

Stöner, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 4

Stöner live in the mojave desert

(stream review here)

Aired fifth but billed almost inevitably as Vol. 4, the unveiling of Stöner, the new trio from Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri with Ryan Gut (also of the former’s solo band) on drums was a bonus to the Live in the Mojave Desert. On-again-off-again collaborators across decades, Bjork and Oliveri nestled into mostly laid-back, stripped down grooves, their stated purpose in going back to the roots of the sound they helped create in the first place. The Kyuss-ness of the central riff of opener “Rad Stays Rad” is no less demonstration of their having done so than the driving punk of the Oliveri-fronted “Evel Never Dies.” The vibe is nostalgic in that song, as well as “Rad Stays Rad,” the gleefully funked “Stand Down,” and “The Older Kids,” but if Stöner is about looking back at this point, they’re doing so with fresh eyes.

To wit, “Own Yer Blues,” “Nothin’,” and the 13-minute mint-jam finale “Tribe/Fly Girl” are more endemic of who these players have become than who they were in the early ’90s or before, and that applies to “Stand Down” too. Bjork‘s vocals sound double-tracked on some of the parts (or at least close delay), but he and Oliveri work well together as one would expect, and as a reveal for what these guys had come up with in renewing their collaboration, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 4 offers seven memorable songs that would make anything more seem unnecessarily fancied up. If their calling card is that rad stays rad, they prove it. And I know he’s not the top bill in the trio with Bjork‘s flow and Oliveri‘s bass tone, but Gut‘s contributions here aren’t to be understated.

Stoner on Instagram

Stoner website

Mountain Tamer, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 5

mountain tamer live in the mojave desert

(stream review here)

Second only to Stöner in curiosity factor, L.A. trio Mountain Tamer have always held a darker edge in their sound, and that comes through in the brash 36 minutes, shouts and screams echoing out over fuzzed garage metal in a fuckall that’s punk in attitude but angrier in its underlying core. Guitarist/vocalist Andrew Hall, bassist Dave Teget and drummer Casey Garcia are the kind of band who open the show and sell the most merch when they’re done. The elements they’re working with are familiar and have been all along in their decade together and across their three LPs — the latest of them, 2020’s Psychosis Ritual (review here), was released by Heavy Psych Sounds — but more even than in their studio work, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 5 brought to light just how much their own their sound really is.

Whether languid as in “Chained” or “Black Noise” or furious as in “Warlock” and “Living in Vain,” Mountain Tamer give Nebula a run for their money in terms of chaos, and easily make for the most pissed off listen of the bunch in Live in the Mojave Desert. The relative roughness of their edge suits them, however, and the rampant echo on the guitar assures there’s still a spacious sound to act as counterbalance to all that thrashing and gnashing. If you can call it balance, I don’t know, but it works for them and they wield their sound as knife more than bludgeon when it comes to it.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Mountain Tamer on Instagram

Mountain Tamer on Bandcamp

Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 1-5 teaser

Giant Rock Records Instagram

Live in the Mojave Desert website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Earthless Finish Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 12th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Among the hashtags accompanying Earthless‘ social media post this morning saying they’ve finished the tracking for their next studio LP are “#kombuchabenefits,” “#moaning” and “#pain.” These sound like the makings of a good record.

The trio recorded at Singing Serpent Studios in their native San Diego, and will release the album I guess whenever they’re good and ready to hit the road to support it through Nuclear Blast Records. One likes to imagine the band triumphantly returning to the stage heralding a rebirth of live heavy music with themselves installed as statesmen of the cause, but hell’s bells, the world can be unkind to such optimism.

Earthless‘ last album was 2018’s Black Heaven (review here), which combined the instrumental sprawl on which much of their reputation of a live act is based — see also their ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’ stream/live record (review here) — with more forward, classically-structured songwriting. What does their fifth record hold? I don’t know. Guitar solos? Killer drums and basslines? It’s fucking Earthless. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself, the plague, and everything else. New Earthless you don’t have to fear.

But really guys, what are the benefits of kombucha?

Guess we’ll find out.

Here’s what they had to say, short and sweet:

earthless

So it’s the wee hours of Sunday right now. We just wanna say that we have finished all the tracking, overdubs and seasonings for what will be our 5th studio album. We are very stoked to get this one out to you all. Big thanks to Ben Moore, Dean Reis and Singing Serpent Studios for an awesome week of recording and Thaddeus Robles for gear loanage! It was nice to do all of this in our hometown of San Diego. More to come. Cheers. #earthless #newalbum #singingserpent #kombuchabenefits #moaning #pain

Earthless is:
Bass: Mike Eginton
Drums: Mario Rubalcaba
Guitar & Vocals: Isaiah Mitchell

https://www.facebook.com/earthlessrips
www.twitter.com/earthlessrips
www.instagram.com/earthlessrips
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
https://twitter.com/nuclearblastusa
http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

Earthless, “Sonic Prayer” snippet from Live in the Mojave Desert

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Earthless Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 6th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

earthless (Photo by Atiba Jefferson)

Good news for anyone out there who likes good news, as Earthless have entered the studio to begin recording the follow-up to 2018’s Black Heaven (review here), which will release sometime presumably later this year through Nuclear Blast Records as their second offering through the label.

The trio that spawned a thousand riffs also recently took part in the ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’ (review here) streaming series and have released a 2LP version of their set therefrom that is the latest in a long line of essential Earthless live recordings. Nonetheless, as a studio album from the band doesn’t come along as often, it’s to be considered a special occasion that they have one in the works.

Conditions and case-numbers permitting, one might just see a list of tour dates coming soon from the band, even if those dates are for the Fall or next Spring. The three-piece normally hit the road pretty hard, especially behind a new album, so how that before-time ethic might translate into current reality remains to be seen. Nonetheless, one hopes for an opportunity to catch the band in what’s long been established as their element sometime soon — though as much as their reputation is as a live act, Black Heaven brought new personality to their studio work and one likewise hopes their next offering will continue to build on that.

They posted the following:

Hello all, it’s been a long day- just a late night post to tell ya that we spent all day setting up and gett’n sounds and we are stoked to have officially begun recording thee 5th Earthless studio album. We are doing here at home in San Diego this time around with Ben Moore at Singing Serpent Studios – Nuclear Blast will release it. More pics n’ stories n’ stuff to come. #earthless #newalbum #singingserpentstudios #nuclearblastrecords

Earthless is:
Bass: Mike Eginton
Drums: Mario Rubalcaba
Guitar & Vocals: Isaiah Mitchell

https://www.facebook.com/earthlessrips
www.twitter.com/earthlessrips
www.instagram.com/earthlessrips
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
https://twitter.com/nuclearblastusa
http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

Earthless, “Sonic Prayer” snippet from Live in the Mojave Desert

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Video Premiere: Formula 400, “Light My Way” from Heathens

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

formula 400

San Diego’s Formula 400 released their debut album, Heathens, in October 2020 through Glory or Death Records, and the video premiering below for the leadoff track “Light My Way” could hardly be more representative of what’s on offer throughout the record. In it, we see four dudes, showing up in a room, kicking ass until the ass is kicked, and then being done. There are few frills and zero time wasted, and the material is presented without trickery or any pretense whatsoever. At no point in Heathens‘ 31-minute run — from “Light My Way” through the acoustic instrumental closer “The Long Road Home” after the six-minute “Sun Destroyer” as built up and shredded out and stretched itself across what seemed to be the album’s greatest reaches — are Formula 400 attempting to be anything they’re not. They’re cracking a beer and playing some tunes. What more would you ask?

If you missed it above, Heathens is short for an LP, seeming to embody a ‘keep ’em wanting more’ ethic that works fairly enough even with the epilogue they present. Between the gruff formula 400 heathensdelivery of the tracks and the riffs set to turn heads for fans of Wo Fat, Freedom Hawk and the like, they ride grooves like “Messenger” with its grungier hook and the bikerly-fuzzed “Ridin’ Easy” — you know that’s the name of a label, right guys? — smoothly ahead of “Spector,” which is about the now-dead producer/wall-of-sound-innovator/convicted-murderer named in its title. Plainly centered around their riffs, Formula 400‘s offer classic-style shifts in tempo and purpose, steering clear of the heavy psychedelic boogie for which their hometown has become known in recent years in favor of a more straightforward direction, begging no indulgences on their way to a sound that wouldn’t have been out of place on Small Stone Records some 20 years ago. Amazing how time flies. Or rides, as it were.

“Illusion” and “Sun Destroyer” have their hooks in place as well, as guitarist/vocalists Ian Holloway and Dan Frick work smoothly together, bassist Kip Page and drummer Ted Karol righteously refusing to relinquish the groove until the songs are done. The album would make a killer live set, maybe minus the outro for practicality’s sake, and one imagines that’s what Formula 400 had in mind. Until then, they seem glad enough to be making a toast and hitting it for “Light My Way,” and that works too from where I sit.

Nothin’ too fancy, but proof it doesn’t need to be when you do it right.

Enjoy:

Formula 400, “Light My Way” official video premiere

Ian Holloway on “Light My Way”:

“Light My Way” is the first song on our debut album, “Heathens.” It is a song written mostly about dealing with friends who have betrayed you and stabbed you in the back. You gotta burn those bridges down to the ground!

This video was recorded with no budget on a friend’s digital Canon Rebel and some various GoPro cams set up in our rehearsal space. It’s a video of us doing what we do best, rocking out! As with everything else in this band, we do it all ourselves. Enjoy, cheers.

Formula 400 are:
Dan Frick: Guitar and Vox
Kip Page: Bass
Ian Holloway: Guitar and Vox
Ted Karol: Drums

Formula 400, Heathens (2020)

Formula 400 on Thee Facebooks

Formula 400 on Instagram

Formula 400 on Bandcamp

Formula 400 website

Glory or Death Records on Thee Facebooks

Glory or Death Records on Instagram

Glory or Death Records on Bandcamp

Glory or Death Records webstore

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Francis Roberts of Old Man Wizard & King Gorm

Posted in Questionnaire on February 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

francis roberts

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Francis Roberts of Old Man Wizard, King Gorm, etc.

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

It’d take awhile to itemize it, but when I boil it down I basically look for new ways to have fun, and one of my favorite things to do is writing music. Right now I’m working on a new Old Man Wizard album (the songs are recorded! Now for the boring business side lol) and the first full-length Yaga-Shura album (that one is further away from being done). I’m toying with ideas for a second King Gorm release but that’s not really past the ideas phase. I’m focusing a great deal of my energy on my YouTube channel at the moment, too. I scored a portion of the upcoming film “The Spine of Night” which is the first feature-length film with my name in the credits!

Describe your first musical memory.

I may have it mixed up, but my parents either got me a toy guitar in Tijuana as a kid, a toy keyboard as a kid. After that it was recorder in school and then clarinet, and then generally not liking music for years before discovering the electric guitar as a teenager.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I have a few that are pretty close to a tie:

-hearing my songs on an LP for the first time (it’s cool every time, one of the best feelings).

-being told I have created someone’s favorite song or album (also amazing every time it happens).

-watching a theater of people who (mostly) didn’t speak my language trying to sing along with a song I wrote.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

When I was growing up I always firmly believed in the power of good, and that even the worst people can find ways to redeem themselves. Although I’m still an optimistic person, I no longer believe that.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

When executed purely, I think it leads to true honesty.

How do you define success?

Are you able to experience happiness regularly? You’re successful.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I typed out my answer, but even looking at it written down made me physically uncomfortable, so I’ve decided I’d rather not force you to read about it. Let’s just say that I’ve seen exactly one thing so fucking vile that I’d probably choose to erase the memory completely, given the choice. I guess it’d also be nice to unsee the entirety of whatever disgusting images people showed me in the early 2000s on rotten.com and other old internet nightmares like tubgirl.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

A hobby I come back to from time to time is creating video games. At some point I hope I make one that I feel good enough about to share publicly.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

To inspire the imaginations of others (ideally leading to the creation of more art).

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Spending time with my friends. Visiting my dad’s new home when it’s safe to travel by plane.

https://www.facebook.com/Old.Man.Wizard/
http://twitter.com/oldmanwizard
https://www.instagram.com/oldmanwizard/
http://oldmanwizard.com/
https://www.facebook.com/king.gorm.usa/
https://www.instagram.com/king.gorm/
https://kinggorm.bandcamp.com/
https://francisroberts.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/f_c_r_
http://instagram.com/francisroberts

Francis Roberts, Story From Another Time (2020)

King Gorm, King Gorm (2020)

Old Man Wizard, Blame it all on Sorcery (2018)

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Live Stream Review: Earthless, Live in the Mojave Desert

Posted in Reviews on January 25th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

earthless live in the mojave desert

Godspeed, Earthless. You carry the hopes and thanks of a grateful nation of weirdos.

The on-paper proposition doesn’t really do justice to actually seeing nighttime desert rocks painted with light while Earthless tear a hole in the galaxy as only they seem able to do. Earthless, Live in the Mojave Desert, while accurate in terms of the basic who and what and where, hardly begins to cover it.

I have watched a number of show-replacement streams at this point. “Well, no concerts because pandemic, so here’s this.” That’s not what this was. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience shared with anyone who had the foresight to acquire a pass. I don’t mind telling you I got emotional. On the sheer level of sensory input, it was hard not to be overwhelmed.

So there’s Earthless — guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton, drummer Mario Rubalcaba — out by Skull Rock in the desert. There were shots of them riding out in the back of a pickup truck, answering interview questions and so on; extraordinarily idyllic to a very specific audience to see Mitchell rattle off a current-listening list upwards of 30 including Ry Cooter, Hendrix and Buddhist chanting. They started playing in daytime and seemed to cut until night, at which point Lance Gordon and the crew of the famed Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show came aboard and, together with the stage lighting, proceeded to color the night. Drone shots have perspective of the impressive scope of the event, and live audio by Dan Joeright of Gatos Trail Studio in Joshua Tree, not to mention mastering by John McBain, assured clarity at no loss of vitality.

It was, at the end, a work of love on the part of producer/director Ryan Jones, best known as one of the parties responsible for the Stoned and Dusted fest. This series of five streams that Earthless kicked off is more than just a show to watch for would-be real-life attendees. Sitting in my living room on a cold January afternoon, it was pure sonic escapism, made all the more resonant by the raw immersion of Earthless live. Something I’d probably never get to see otherwise, pandemic or not. It wasn’t trying to be a show happening in a dark venue somewhere. It was more like a hybrid concert and concert film, presented live in the new medium that the horror show of last year brought to prominence.

The production was flawless. And no, they weren’t actually live. I think it was filmed in November, but even as a streaming premiere, the work editing and splicing in visual effects and different shots only enhanced the viewing experience. Watching dudes perform to a single camera in their rehearsal room has a certain appeal to it, and I won’t say otherwise, but this was something special. Whether it was “Violence of the Red Sea” in daylight or “Sonic Prayer” and “Lost in the Cold Sun” closing out at night, it felt like a gift, a celebration honoring live music that, yeah, made you miss it, but managed to offer something of its own beyond that sad nostalgia for what’s been lost in the COVID era. Jones and his crew filming, the audio, lighting, tech people, the logistics work — it was all astounding to comprehend.

There will be four more, with Nebula, Spirit Mother, Mountain Tamer and Stoner between now and the beginning of March. Then come the live albums, blu-rays, and so on. Without falling into some kind of “in this moment” clichĂ© about the times humanity is living through — I guess the lucky ones are living, with upwards of 4,000 deaths per day — the fact of the matter is that even if gigs were happening, the Live in the Mojave Desert series would be something incredible to witness. If you saw this one on its first airing or you chase it down later, it is stuff of which legends are made. Recommended.

Earthless, “Sonic Prayer” snippet from Live in the Mojave Desert

Earthless on Thee Facebooks

Earthless on Twitter

Earthless on Instagram

Earthless on Bandcamp

Live in the Mojave Desert tickets at Tixr

California Desert Wizards Association website

California Desert Wizards Association Instagram

Stoned and Dusted on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Across Tundras, Motorpsycho, Dark Buddha Rising, Vine Weevil, King Chiefs, Battle Hag, Hyde, Faith in Jane, American Dharma, Hypernaut

Posted in Reviews on December 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Just to reiterate, I decided to do this Quarterly Review before making my year-end list because I felt like there was stuff I needed to hear that I hadn’t dug into. Here we are, 70 records later, and that’s still the case. My desktop is somewhat less cluttered than it was when I started out, but there’s still plenty of other albums, EPs, and so on I could and probably should be covering. It’s frustrating and encouraging at the same time, I guess. Fruscouraging. Life’s too short for the international boom of underground creativity.

Anyway, thanks for taking this ride if you did. It is always appreciated.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush

Across Tundras The Last Days of a Silver Rush

Issued as part of a late-2020 splurge by Tanner Olson and Across Tundras that has also resulted in the full-length LOESS – LĂ–SS (review here), as well as three lost-tracks compilations called Selected Sonic Rituals, an experimental Western drone record issued under the banner of Edward Outlander, and an EP and three singles (two collaborative) from Olson solo, The Last Days of a Silver Rush offers subdued complement to the more band-oriented LOESS – LĂ–SS, with an acoustic-folk foundation much more reminiscent of Olson‘s solo outings than the twang-infused progressive heavy rock for which Across Tundras are known. Indeed, though arrangements are fleshed out with samples and the electrified spaciousness of “The Prodigal Children of the God of War,” the only other contributor here is Ben Schriever on vocals and there are no drums to be found tying down the sweet strums and far-off melodies present. Could well be Olson bridging the gap between one modus (the band) and another (solo), and if so, fine. One way or the other it’s a strong batch of songs in the drifting western aesthetic he’s established. There’s nothing to say the next record will be the same or will be different. That’s why it’s fun.

Across Tundras on Bandcamp

Eagle Stone Collective on Bandcamp

 

Motorpsycho, The All is One

motorpsycho the all is one

What could possibly be left to say about the brilliance of Trondheim, Norway’s Motorpsycho? One only wishes that The All is One could be blasted into place on a pressed gold vinyl so that any aliens who might encounter it could know that humanity isn’t just all cruelty, plagues and indifference. The prolific heavy prog kingpins’ latest is 84 willfully-unmanageable minutes of graceful and gracious, hyperbole-ready sprawl, tapping into dynamic changes and arrangement depth that is both classic in character and still decidedly forward-thinking. An early rocker “The Same Old Rock (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)” and the shuffling “The Magpie” give way after the opener to the quiet “Delusion (The Reign of Humbug)” and the multi-stage “N.O.X.,” which unfolds in five parts, could easily have been an album on its own, and caps with a frenetic mania that is only off-putting because of how controlled it ultimately is. Then they throw in a couple experimental pieces after that between the nine-minute “Dreams of Fancy” and the mellow-vibing “Like Chrome.” Someday archaeologists will dig up the fossils of this civilization and wonder what gods this sect worshipped. Do they have three more records out yet? Probably.

Motorpsycho website

Stickman Records website

 

Dark Buddha Rising, Mathreyata

Dark Buddha Rising Mathreyata

From out of the weirdo hotbed that is Tampere, Finland, Dark Buddha Rising reemerge from the swirling ether with new lessons in black magique for anyone brave enough to be schooled. Mathreyata follows 2018’s II EP but is the band’s first full-length since 2015’s Inversum (review here), and from the initial cosmically expansive lurch of “Sunyaga” through the synth-laced atmosludge roll of “Nagathma” and the seven-minute build-to-abrasion that is “Uni” and the guess-what-now-that-abrasion-pays-off beginning of 15-minute closer “Mahatgata III,” which, yes, hits into some New Wavy guitar just before exploding just after nine minutes in, the band make a ritual pyre of expectation, genre and what one would commonly think of as psychedelia. Some acts are just on their own level, and while Dark Buddha Rising will always be too extreme for some and not everyone’s going to get it, their growing cult can only continue to be enthralled by what they accomplish here.

Dark Buddha Rising on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

 

Vine Weevil, Sun in Your Eyes

vine weevil sun in your eyes

Together, brothers Yotam and Itamar Rubinger — guitar/vocals and drums, respectively — comprise London’s Vine Weevil. Issued early in 2020 preceded by a video for “You are the Ocean” (posted here), Sun in Your Eyes is the second album from the brothers, who are also both former members of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, and in the watery title-track and the Beatles-circa-Revolver bounce of “Loose Canon” they bask in a folkish ’60s-style psychedelia, mellotron melodies adding to the classic atmosphere tipped with just an edge of Ween-style weirdness — it’s never so druggy, but that undercurrent is there. “You are the Ocean” hints toward heavy garage, but the acoustic/electric sentimentality of “My Friend” and the patient piano unfurling of “Lord of Flies” ahead of organ-led closer “The Shadow” are more indicative overall of the scope of this engaging, heartfelt and wistful 31-minute offering.

Vine Weevil on Thee Facebooks

Vine Weevil on Bandcamp

 

King Chiefs, Flying into Void

king chiefs flying into void

Since before their coronation — when they were just Chiefs — the greatest strength of San Diego heavy rockers King Chiefs has been their songwriting. They’ve never been an especially flashy band on a technical level, never over the top either direction tempo-wise, but they can write a melody, craft a feel in a three-or-four-minute track and tell any story they want to tell in that time in a way that leaves the listener satisfied. This is not a skill to be overlooked, and though on Flying into Void, the follow-up to 2018’s Blue Sonnet (review here), the album is almost entirely done by guitarist/vocalist Paul ValleJeff Podeszwik adds guitar as well — the energy, spirit and craft that typify King Chiefs‘ work is maintained. Quality heavy built on a foundation of grunge — a ’90s influence acknowledged in the cover art; dig that Super Nintendo — it comes with a full-band feel despite its mostly-solo nature and delivers 37 minutes of absolutely-pretense-free, clearheaded rock and roll. If you can’t get down with that, one seriously doubts that’ll stop King Chiefs anyhow.

King Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

King Chiefs webstore

 

Battle Hag, Celestial Tyrant

battle hag celestial tyrant

How doomed is Battle Hag‘s doom? Well, on Celestial Tyrant, it’s pretty damn doomed. The second long-player from the Sacramento, California-based outfit is comprised of three worth-calling-slabs slabs that run in succession from shortest to longest: “Eleusinian Sacrament” (12:47), “Talus” (13:12) and “Red Giant” (19:15), running a total of 45 minutes. Why yes, it is massive as fuck. The opener brings the first round of lurch and is just a little too filthy to be pure death-doom, despite the rainstorm cued in at its last minute, but “Talus” picks up gradually, hard-hit toms signaling the plod to come with the arrival of the central riff, which shows up sooner or later. Does the timestamp matter as much as the feeling of having your chest caved in? “Talus” hits into a speedier progression as it crosses over its second half, but it’s still raw vocally, and the plod returns at the end — gloriously. At 19 minutes “Red Giant” is also the most dynamic of the three cuts, dropping after its up-front lumber and faster solo section into a quiet stretch before spending the remaining eight minutes devoted to grueling extremity and devolution to low static noise. There’s just enough sludge here to position Battle Hag in a niche between microgenres, and the individuality that results is as weighted as their tones.

Battle Hag on Thee Facebooks

Transylvanian Tapes on Bandcamp

 

Hyde, Hyde

hyde hyde

It might take a few listens to sink in — and hey, it might not — but Parisian trio Hyde are up to some deceptively intricate shenanigans on their self-titled debut LP. On their face, a riff like that of second cut “Black Phillip” or “DWAGB” — on which The Big Lebowski is sampled — aren’t revolutionary, but the atmospheric purpose to which they’re being put is more brooding than the band give themselves credit for. They call it desert-influenced, but languid tempos, gruff vocals coated in echo, spacious guitar and rhythmic largesse all come together to give Hyde‘s Hyde a darker, brooding atmosphere than it might at first seem, and even opener “The Victim” and the penultimate “The Barber of Pitlochry” — the only two songs under five minutes long — manage to dig into this vibe. Of course, the 11-minute closing eponymous track — that is, “Hyde,” by Hyde, on Hyde — goes even further, finding its way into psychedelic meandering after its chugging launch rings out, only to roll heavy in its last push, ending with start-stop thud and a long fade. Worth the effort of engaging on its own level, Hyde‘s first full-length heralds even further growth going forward.

Hyde on Thee Facebooks

Hyde on Bandcamp

 

Faith in Jane, Mother to Earth

Faith in Jane Mother to Earth

Maryland’s best kept secret in heavy rock remain wildly undervalued, but that doesn’t stop power trio Faith in Jane from exploring cosmic existentialism on Mother to Earth even as they likewise broaden the expanse of their grooving, bluesy dynamic. “The Circle” opens in passionate form followed by the crawling launch of “Gone are the Days,” and whether it’s the tempest brought to bear in the instrumental “Weight of a Dream” or the light-stepping jam in the middle of the title-track, the soaring solo from guitarist/vocalist Dan Mize on the subsequent “Nature’s Daughter” or the creeper-chug on “Universal Mind,” the cello guest spot on “Lonesome” and the homage to a party unknown (Chesapeake heavy has had its losses these last few years, to say nothing of anyone’s personal experience) in closer “We’ll Be Missing You,” Mize, bassist Brendan Winston and drummer Alex Llewellyn put on a clinic in vibrancy and showcase the classic-style chemistry that’s made them a treasure of their scene. I still say they need to tour for three years and not look back, but if it’s 56 minutes of new material instead, things could be far worse.

Faith in Jane on Thee Facebooks

Faith in Jane on Bandcamp

 

American Dharma, Cosmosis

American Dharma COSMOSIS

Newcomer four-piece American Dharma want nothing for ambition on their 70-minute debut, Cosmosis, bringing together progressive heavy rock, punk and doom, grunge and hardcore punk, but the Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, outfit are somewhat held back by a rawness of production pulling back from the spaces the songs might otherwise create. A bona fide preach at the outset of “Damaged Coda” is a break early on, but the guitars and bass want low end throughout much of the 14-song proceedings, and the vocals cut through with no problem but are mostly dry even when layered or show the presence of a guest, as on closer “You.” Actually, if you told me the whole thing was recorded live and intended as a live album, I’d believe it, but for a unit who do so well in pulling together elements of different styles in their songwriting and appear to have so much to say, their proggier leanings get lost when they might otherwise be highlighted. Now, it’s a self-released debut coming out during a global pandemic, so there’s context worth remembering, but for as much reach as American Dharma show in their songs, their presentation needs to move into alignment with that.

American Dharma on Thee Facebooks

American Dharma on Bandcamp

 

Hypernaut, Ozymandias

hypernaut ozymandias

Call it a burner, call it a corker, call it whatever you want, I seriously doubt Lima, Peru’s Hypernaut are sticking around to find out how you tag their debut album, Ozymandias. The nine-song/38-minute release pulls from punk with some of its forward-thrusting verses like “(This Is Where I) Draw the Line” or “Cynicism is Self-Harm,” but there’s metal there and in the closing title-cut as well that remains part of the atmosphere no matter how brash it might otherwise get. Spacey melodies, Sabbathian roll on “Multiverse… Battleworld” (“Hole in the Sky” walks by and waves), and a nigh-on-Devo quirk in the rhythm of “Atomic Breath” all bring to mind Iowan outliers Bloodcow, but that’s more likely sonic coincidence than direct influence, and one way or the other, Hypernaut‘s “Ozymandias” sets up a multifaceted push all through its span to its maddening, hypnotic finish, but the real danger of the thing is what this band might do if they continue on this trajectory for a few more records.

Hypernaut on Thee Facebooks

Hypernaut on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: -(16)-, BoneHawk, DĂ–, Howling Giant & Sergeant Thunderhoof, Chimney Creeps, Kingnomad, Shores of Null, The Device, Domo, Early Moods

Posted in Reviews on December 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

I just decided how long this Quarterly Review is actually going to be. It’s seven days, then I’ll do my year-end list and the poll results on New Year’s Eve and Day, respectively. That’s the plan. Though honestly, I might pick up after that weekend and continue QR-style for that next week. There’s a lot more to cover, I think. The amount of releases this year has been pretty insane and completely overwhelming. I’ve tried to keep up as best I can and clearly have failed in that regard or I probably wouldn’t be so swamped now. So it goes. One way or the other, I don’t think a lot of emails are getting answered for the next two weeks, though I’ll try to keep up with that too.

But anyhow, that’s what’s up. Here’s Day II (because this is the QR where I do Roman numerals for absolutely no reason).

Quarterly Review #11-20:

16, Dream Squasher

16 Dream Squasher

The fourth long-player since 16‘s studio return with 2009’s Bridges to Burn, the 10-track Dream Squasher begins with tales of love for kid and dog, respectively. The latter might be the sweetest lyrics I’ve ever read for something that’s still bludgeoning sludge — said dog also gets a mention amid the ultra-lumbering chug and samples of “Acid Tongue” — and it’s worth mentioning that as the Cali intensity institution nears 30 years since their start in 1991, they’re branching out in theme and craft alike, as the melody of the organ-laced “Sadlands” shows. There’s even some harmonica in “Agora (Killed by a Mountain Lion),” though it’s soon enough swallowed by pummel and the violent punk of “Ride the Waves” follows. “Summer of ’96” plays off Bryan Adams for another bit of familial love, while closing duo “Screw Unto Others” and “Kissing the Choir Boy” indict capitalist and religious figureheads in succession amid weighted plod and seething anger, the band oddly in their element in this meld of ups, downs and slaughter.

16 on Thee Facebooks

16 at Relapse Records

 

BoneHawk, Iron Mountain

bonehawk iron mountain

Kalamazoo four-piece BoneHawk make an awaited follow-up to their 2014 debut, Albino Rhino (discussed here), in the form of Iron Mountain, thereby reminding listeners why it’s been awaited in the first place. Solid, dual-guitar, newer-school post-The Sword heavy rock. Second cut “Summit Fever” reminds a bit of Valley of the Sun and Freedom Hawk, but neither is a bad echelon of acts to stand among, and the open melodies of the subsequent title-track and the later “Fire Lake” do much to distinguish BoneHawk along the way. The winding lead lines of centerpiece “Wildfire” offer due drama in their apex, and “Thunder Child” and “Future Mind” are both catchy enough to keep momentum rolling into the eight-minute closer “Lake of the Clouds,” which caps with due breadth and, yes, is the second song on the record about a lake. That’s how they do in Michigan and that’s just fine.

BoneHawk on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

DĂ–, Black Hole Mass

do black hole mass

DĂ– follow the Valborg example of lumbering barking extremity into a cosmic abyss on their Black Hole Mass three-songer, emitting charred roll like it’s interstellar background radiation and still managing to give an underlying sense of structure to proceedings vast and encompassing. “Gravity Sacrifice” and “Plasma “Psalm” are right on in their teeth-grinding shove, but it’s the 10-minute finale “Radiation Blessing” that steals my heart with its trippy break in the middle, sample, drifting guitar and all, as the Finnish trio build gradually back up to a massive march all the more effective for the atmosphere they’ve constructed around it. Construction, as it happens, is the underlying strength of Black Hole Mass, since it’s the firm sense of structure beneath their songs that allows them to so ably engage their dark matter metal over the course of these 22 minutes, but it’s done so smoothly one hardly thinks about it while listening. Instead, the best thing to do is go along for the ride, brief as it is, or at least bow head in appreciation to the ceremony as it trods across rigid stylistic dogma.

DĂ– on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Howling Giant & Sergeant Thunderhoof, Turned to Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa

turned to stone chapter 2 howling giant sergeant thunderhoof

Let this be a lesson to, well, everyone. This is how you do a conceptual split. Two bands getting together around a central idea — in this case, Tennessee’s Howling Giant and UK’s Sergeant Thunderhoof — both composing single tracks long enough to consume a vinyl side and expanding their reach not only to work with each other but further their own progressive sonic ideologies. Ripple Music‘s Turned to Stone split series is going to have a tough one to top in Masamune & Muramasa, as Howling Giant utterly shine in “Masamune” and the rougher-hewn tonality of Sergeant Thunderhoof‘s “Maramasa” makes an exceptional complement. Running about 41 minutes, the release is a journey through dynamic, with each act pushing their songwriting beyond prior limits in order to meet the occasion head-on and in grand fashion. They do, and the split easily stands among the best of 2020’s short releases as a result. If you want to hear where heavy rock is going, look no further.

Howling Giant on Thee Facebooks

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Chimney Creeps, Nosedive

chimney creeps nosedive

Punkish shouts over dense noise rock tones, New York trio Chimney Creeps make their full-length debut with Nosedive, which they’ve self-released on vinyl. The album runs through seven tracks, and once it gets through the straight-ahead heavy punk of “March of the Creeps” and “Head in the Sand” at the outset, the palette begins to broaden in the fuzzy and gruff “Unholy Cow,” with the deceptively catchy “Splinter” following. “Creeper” and “Satisfied” before it are longer and accordingly more atmospheric, with a truck-backing-up sample at the start of “Creeper” that would seem to remind listeners just where the band’s sound has put them: out back, around the loading dock. Fair enough as “Diving Line” wraps in accordingly workmanlike fashion, the vocals cutting through clearly as they have all the while, prominent in the mix in a way that asks for balance. “Bright” I believe is the word an engineer might use, but the vocals stand out, is the bottom line, and thereby assure that the aggressive stance of the band comes across as more than a put-on.

Chimney Creeps on Thee Facebooks

Chimney Creeps on Bandcamp

 

Kingnomad, Sagan Om Rymden

Kingnomad - Sagan Om Rymden

Kingnomad‘s third album, Sagan Om Rymden certainly wants nothing for scope or ambition, setting its progressive tone with still-hooky opener “Omniverse,” before unfurling the more patient chug in “Small Beginnings” and taking on such weighted (anti-)matter as “Multiverse” and “The Creation Hymn” and “The Unanswered Question” later on. Along the way, the Swedish troupe nod at Ghost-style melodicism, Graveyard-ish heavy blues boogie — in “The Omega Experiment,” no less — progressive, psychedelic and heavy rocks and no less than the cosmos itself, as the Carl Sagan reference in the record’s title seems to inform the space-based mythology expressed and solidified within the songs. Even the acoustic-led interlude-plus “The Fermi Paradox” finds room to harmonize vocals and prove a massive step forward for the band. 2018’s The Great Nothing (review here) and 2017’s debut, Mapping the Inner Void (review here), were each more accomplished than the last, but Sagan Om Rymden is just a different level. It puts Kingnomad in a different class of band.

Kingnomad on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)

Shores of Null Beyond the Shores On Death and Dying

By the time Shores of Null are nine minutes into the single 38-minute track that makes up their third album, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying), they would seem to have unveiled at least four of the five vocalists who appear throughout the proceedings, with the band’s own Davide Straccione joined by Swallow the Sun‘s Mikko Kotamäki as well as Thomas A.G. Jensen (Saturnus), Martina Lesley Guidi (of Rome’s Traffic Club) and Elisabetta Marchetti (INNO). There are guests on violin, piano and double-bass as well, so the very least one might say is that Shores of Null aren’t kidding around when they’re talking about this record in a sense of being ‘beyond’ themselves. The journey isn’t hindered so much as bolstered by the ambition, however, and the core five-piece maintain a steady presence throughout, serving collectively as the uniting factor as “Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)” moves through its portrayal of the stages of grief in according movements of songcraft, gorgeously-arranged and richly composed as they are as they head toward the final storm. In what’s been an exceptional year for death-doom, Shores of Null still stand out for the work they’ve done.

Shores of Null on Thee Facebooks

Spikerot Records website

 

The Device, Tribute Album

the device tribute album

Tectonic sludge has become a mainstay in Polish heavy, and The Device, about whom precious little is known other than they’re very, very, very heavy when they want to be, add welcome atmospherics to the lumbering weedian procession. “Rise of the Device” begins the 47-minute Tribute Album in crushing form, but “Ritual” and the first minute or so of “BongOver” space out with droney minimalism, before the latter track — the centerpiece of the five-songer and only cut under six minutes long at 2:42 — explodes in consuming lurch. “Indica” plays out this structure again over a longer stretch, capping with birdsong and whispers and noise after quiet guitar and hypnotic, weighted riffing have played back and forth, but it’s in the 23-minute closer “Exhale” that the band finds their purpose, a live-sounding final jam picking up after a long droning stretch to finish the record with a groove that, indeed, feels like a release in the playing and the hearing. Someone’s speaking at the end but the words are obscured by echo, and to be sure, The Device have gotten their point across by then anyhow. The stark divisions between loud and quiet on Tribute Album are interesting, as well as what the band might do to cover the in-between going forward.

Galactic SmokeHouse Records on Thee Facebooks

The Device on Bandcamp

 

Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2

Domo Domonautas Vol 2

Spanish progressive heavy psychedelic semi-instrumentalists Domo follow late-2019’s Domonautas Vol. 1 (review here) with a four-song second installment, and Domonautas Vol. 2 answers its predecessor back with the jazz-into-doom of “Avasaxa” (7:43) and the meditation in “Dolmen” (13:50) on side A, and the quick intro-to-the-intro “El Altar” (2:06) and the 15-minute “VientohalcĂłn” on side B, each piece working with its own sense of motion and its own feeling of progression from one movement to the next, never rushed, never overly patient, but smooth and organic in execution even in its most active or heaviest stretches. The two most extended pieces offer particular joys, but neither should one discount the quirky rhythm at the outset of “Avasaxa” or the dramatic turn it makes just before five minutes in from meandering guitar noodling to plodding riffery, if only because it sounds like Domo are having so much fun catching the listener off guard. Exactly as they should be.

Domo on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Early Moods, Spellbound

early moods spellbound

Doom be thy name. Or, I guess Early Moods be thy name, but doom definitely be thy game. The Los Angeles four-piece make their debut with the 26-minute Spellbound, and I suppose it’s an EP, but the raw Pentagram worship on display in the opening title-track and the Sabbath-ism that ensues flows easy and comes through with enough sincerity of purpose that if the band wanted to call it a full-length, one could hardly argue. Guitar heads will note the unbridled scorch of the solos throughout — centerpiece “Isolated” moves from one into a slow-Slayer riff that’s somehow also Candlemass, which is a feat in itself — while “Desire” rumbles with low-end distortion that calls to mind Entombed even as the vocals over top are almost pure Witchcraft. They save the most engaging melody for the finale “Living Hell,” but even that’s plenty grim and suited to its accompanying dirt-caked feel. Rough in production, but not lacking clarity, Spellbound entices and hints at things to come, but has a barebones appeal all its own as well.

Early Moods on Thee Facebooks

Dying Victims Productions website

 

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